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Monthly Archives: March 2014
I saw the Noah movie. It’s bad. Really, really bad. It’s such a comedown from director Darren Aronovsky’s previous film, The Black Swan, which was really, really good. Where to start with Noah? How about with the gender stereotyping and racism? The … Continue reading
When I learned that, in South Carolina, two Republican young earth creationists recently blocked the adoption of the woolly mammoth as the state’s official fossil (all but seven states have one) because they don’t want people reminded of evolution, I thought … Continue reading
The short reason: __________ The longer explanation (at YouTube): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OPRUggIb-NI __________ In Ward’s view, the two most urgent problems surrounding human caused climate change are the following: Mass extinction. When the poles heat up (as has happened in other periods … Continue reading
Physicist Alan Sokal, the famed skewer of postmodernism, in an article at Massimo Pigliucci’s Scientia Salon, gives faith a well deserved towel snap: “Faith” is not in fact a rejection of reason, but simply a lazy acceptance of bad reasons. “Faith” … Continue reading
The three word definition. The physicist Brian Greene, in his book The Hidden Reality (Knopf 2011), gives the best definition of information I’ve ever encountered: So, you start to ponder. What actually is information, and what does it do? Your … Continue reading
Jimmy Wales, the founder of Wikipedia, responds to alternative medicine woo pushers seeking easier criteria for inclusion in Wikipedia articles:
From Leon Wieseltier at The New Republic: At the conclusion of his poems about the rescue of the Ghent Altarpiece [from a salt mine after WWII], Kirstein wrote: “How marble molds itself into flesh, paint kindles gold in shafts / Makes me witness salvation … Continue reading
He’s dead, but who was Fred Phelps, really? He was a logician; a logician made flesh; the reductio ad absurdum of the anti-gay rights movement. God hates fags. It’s right there in the Bible. Thus he believed, thus he preached, … Continue reading
Science writer John Horgan (who is not a physicist) is intrigued by the recent evidence for the theory of cosmic inflation, but is also holding out for some additional confirmation, support, and explanation before he buys what some prominent physicists, … Continue reading
Apparently it does, and that considerably. This comes via Space.com: The new research also lends credence to the idea of a multiverse. This theory posits that, when the universe grew exponentially in the first tiny fraction of a second after the … Continue reading
The subject is Noah’s ark and the new Noah’s ark movie. Bill Maher engaging in some sustained and gleeful–and very, very funny–blasphemy. (That is, if God and biblical literalists can take a joke.)
Imagine positing a theory about the origin of the cosmos, then predicting something odd and otherwise implausible that one would find if the theory were true. Then imagine finding it. That’s what happened. This is via USA TODAY and The … Continue reading
The Supreme Court. A reader at Andrew Sullivan’s blog makes the point concisely: A president Clinton will have […] a very gray Supreme Court (FOUR octogenarians in her first term). Think about what that means for all those Voting Rights Act cases … Continue reading
Louis Crompton. Homosexuality and History (Harvard 2003), by Louis Crompton, is by far the best general history of homosexuality yet written, and in his chapter on the medieval world, he has a fascinating discussion of Thomas Aquinas’s and Dante’s treatment of … Continue reading
Sharing with a stranger–one of the better angels of our nature–is on display in this YouTube: __________ The video is moving, but why is it moving? Why don’t we have similar responses, say, to adult alcoholics who are homeless, cold, … Continue reading
In the Preface to his eight-volume edition of Shakespeare’s plays (1765), the literary critic Samuel Johnson (1709-1784) had some opinions about what makes Shakespeare so good. Here they are. See if you agree (and notice how many of them are … Continue reading
This video explains it: ___________ As the above video nicely, if ironically, illustrates, the hiddenness of God is a serious problem. And academic books have been written on the issue. One is titled Divine Hiddenness: New Essays (edited by Daniel … Continue reading
Are you a fussy egg handler, quickly washing your hands after touching raw eggs and never, never licking batter from a spoon or bowl if a raw egg has been mixed with it (for fear of salmonella)? In terms of … Continue reading
In the debut episode of the new Cosmos series, hosted by astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, Hand Stuever of The Washington Post describes the football field sized cosmological calendar that Tyson uses to put our 13.7 billion-year-old big bang universe into time … Continue reading